Russia: January 30, 2000

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Russian troops in Grozny kept up the pressure, using warplanes, helicopter gunships, artillery and tanks to demolish any structure rebels seemed to be firing from. Some call it overkill, but it limits Russian casualties (which is very popular with the Russian public) and has induced many rebels to surrender. Over the weekend, some 200 rebels gave up, with 128 laying down their arms today. The Russians have pushed the surrender angle, treating the rebels well and letting word of mouth get back to those who are still fighting. The Russians are also leaving open corridors for rebels to leave the city (but not move the other way.)  The rebels have no artillery or air support and skimpy supplies. Although the rebels have more motivation, this only goes so far towards countering the Russian advantages. The Russians estimate that there are some 1,500 to 3,000 rebels left in the city, with several thousand more in the hills to the south. Meanwhile, in Siberia, there is a growing diplomatic riff with Mongolia because Russian border guards have not gone after a gang of Siberian rustlers who are raiding into Mongolia and escaping into Russia with their booty.

 

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